How Does External Conflict Impact Social Trust? Evidence from the 9/11 Attacks as a Natural Experiment in the US
30 Pages Posted: 26 Feb 2011 Last revised: 7 Aug 2014
Date Written: September 1, 2011
Social trust has enchanted social scientists due to its importance for both cooperation within societies and economic performance. This paper provides a novel empirical study of whether external conflict affects trust. The possible ways that conflict could be related to trust are theoretically validated by two psychology hypotheses on social group behavior. I try to empirically identify the effect of external conflict on within-society trust by interpreting US General Social Survey (GSS) trust data within a natural experiment with the terror attacks of 9/11 observed as the external conflict. Differences-in-differences estimations are in favor of the hypothesis that positive trust attitudes within a group are independent from external conflict.
Keywords: Trust, External Conflict, Natural Experiment
JEL Classification: A12, A13, C10, C90, H80, O10, Z10
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